❚ THE BOOK OF THE DECADE has arrived and early buyers of the 2,000-copy first edition had it in their hands today. The photo-story of 80s clubland, We Can Be Heroes, felt reassuringly hefty to the touch and we finally discovered the page size to be generous at 235 x 280mm. The five-colour printing gives intensity especially to the black-and-white photography on the high-gloss paper and author Graham Smith’s verdict on the quality was simple: “Stunning.” Collaborator and 80s club-host Chris Sullivan breathed a sigh: “We got there in the end.”
The 320 pages of story-telling and voxpops from perhaps 100 contributors will raise plenty of smiles when the postman delivers the book during the next week. Even if you’ve read Shapersofthe80s from top to bottom, you’ll find as many more quotes and insights from the original Blitz Kids themselves. Deejay Jeffrey Hinton reminds us in the book: “People think this was a premeditated scene but it was not. It was childlike, thrown together. We didn’t do it for the money, we were innocent. It’s all so marketed today.”
While the main images reveal just how small in number was the coterie who initiated the sounds and styles of the 80s, Smith has supplemented his own portfolio of pictures with many snaps from clubland wags themselves whose ambitions were liberated by the spirit of collaboration inspired in 1980. Nevertheless, designer Fiona Dealey makes a valid point in the book: “When anyone has written about the Blitz it has been by the same few blokes giving the same old soundbites with never a mention of what the women were up to. The Blitz was our youth club and I feel they hijacked it.”
Today John Mitchinson, the book’s publisher, said he was reasonably confident that a commercial edition of Heroes might follow in the autumn of 2012. In the meantime a limited number of copies of the first edition are still available only from Unbound Publishing.
➢ 1976–1984, Creative clubbing ended with the 80s — we profile three of the bright sparks behind We Can Be Heroes and how they shaped the decade
➢ View Shapersofthe80s video — Chris Sullivan telling his “ribald tales of excess” from the Blitz era at a launch party for We Can Be Heroes… with Graham Smith and Robert Elms on video too